A journey about JO Steenkamp:
’If you follow the path of your soul
You will have something worthwhile to make known.
If you take courage and let go
If you jump, you will land eventually
And your life will never be the same again.’
- Dr JO Steenkamp
Living in different parts of South Africa (Sunland, Uitenhage, Port Elizabeth, Cape Town and eventually settling in Pretoria), having visited 30 countries and doing psychological facilitation and presentations in some of them – all these encounters unveiled the conditioning in which I was brought up.
Interaction stimulates and the road of life confronts us with that which we need to address so that we may be set free and manifest our potential. This manifestation is our giving in to the web of life. And this is the thing, when we live this potential, synchronised patterns unfold that provide us with the choice to continue on our path of discovery. When we choose the conditioned, safe way of existing then that is what we do – we exist, but we do not live. Life is movement. It is sexy and sometimes unforgiving in its passion to expose itself. And it cannot stop. It is our fear that tries to stop this energy and create a sense of permanence. But there is no such thing as permanence. The illusion of permanence that we hold onto, is drowning us for we keep on fearing that which might happen – the future – which, in turn, is rooted in the losses of our past. Such oscillation keeps us out of the Now experience.
The objective of things is to keep interacting with themselves and, in this process, creating new relations through its configurations. And so the choice is ours. If we try and stop life its flow will destruct us. When flow is stuck, it acquires a malignant identity to destruct itself so that it can renew. But how do we know that we are stopping this energy? This is what my work has been about for the past 33 years in private practice: to understand the flow of life and its objective. There have been many interesting discoveries over thousands of psychotherapy sessions, some conceptualised and some just hiding away in the mystery of it all. Accumulated insights furthered my development of SHIP® (Spontaneous Healing Intra-systemic Process). Grounded theory coupled with intuitive linking about the objective of things have allowed me to see and understand patterns and processes in a different manner. It has brought the spiritual background and the scientific into an understandable whole where the one is dependent on the other for us to be.
So how did it happen?
I have been asked this question many times: ‘How did you manage to develop this psychotherapy?’ ‘How did you know that these spontaneous healing patterns exist and that you could facilitate them?’
In truth, I know and I do not know. What I mean is that in a way Spontaneous Healing found me through a childhood illness diagnosed as rheumatoid arthritis. I was 11 years old when I woke up one morning with a swollen foot that could not fit into my shoe. My father, a very good medical doctor, immediately diagnosed my condition. I had to stay in bed for 99 days. I was healed and left with no after‑effects. In a way that is not true, for the after‑effects would only dawn on me later: this experience would count as the initiation into the field of psychobiology and the effect of emotions on the body state. At age 11 I had to hide rebelliousness for being taken out of country living conditions and made to join a city situation.
The rebelliousness went underground and manifested as rheumatoid arthritis that took me out of these uncomfortable conditions for a very long time until I had found the way back to address my new living circumstances with more surety.
Through choices and interesting synchronised events I eventually landed up in the field of Psychology. At the time, there was no way for me to realise just how well I would fit into this realm. Many years have passed and I frequently say thank you for the way my choices and synchronicities have played out in my profession. The first time that I recognised Spontaneous Healing with clarity was in the second year of private practice. The moment it took place in front of me I knew that it was what I had known all along, but did not know how and where.
The instant that the avenue opened, it changed my psychotherapeutic career. Of course, when we advocate an insight that confronts the route of traditional psychotherapy, it opens fear projections from those who cling to the known. During those initial years, I was assigned many labels – from demonic, to a little crazy, to ‘beware of the cult he is creating’ and other such humorous labels. But we cannot be untruthful when life wakes us up. Even in the face of professional loneliness, the connection to the Source of Life can be the only choice. During the years that followed, more and more information opened and demanded its voice. A note should be inserted here that this road can at times tire us to the point of utter exhaustion because once the story starts telling itself it keeps going. Energy has no boundaries and it runs through our personal boundaries as if they do not exist. Due to this exhaustion and the effect on my family who had to cope with an absent‑minded person lost in a world of change and movement and writing, I tried – unsuccessfully – to walk away from this intense energy flow earlier in my career.
I am indebted to so many people who have had psychotherapeutic encounters with me. This relational experience is at the core of the opening of our consciousness. The continuous interaction and exploration nudges itself through the meandering vines and shrubs in the forest of consciousness. Our openings within are sometimes incremental in preparation for what we need to see so that we can make the shift that is necessary for the energy to evolve. We all have this internal knowledge. It is not mine and I am not the author of its life. It is a matter of submerging ourselves into the energy so that its flow can take us where we need to go. And to go, you need to let go of what you know. Only then can you get to know what you did not know that you do know; else you will keep believing that you don’t.
There is no end to exploring the beauty and the so-called cruelty of life. My decision to share these avenues with you is so that you may find your own self and your place in life. The medium I use is story-telling, through intuition and grounded science and through reflection on what you might venture to expose. And no, I do not have your answer. The fact that I have found mine only means that I can potentially facilitate you to find yours.